Party Over Principles…

I am a daily reader of The Week website. It gives me a totally different view of the world than many others around today.  If you really want to stay informed about what is going on in the world you need to read/watch a variety of sources. Even Fox News is part of my read/watch list, but I must admit that I hold my nose when see things with that moniker attached.

Getting back to the topic of this post I loved the cover of the latest paper copy of the week. It says it all about endorsing Donald Trump for president. It seems, but maybe the other shoe will soon drop, that the two dominant leaders of the GOP have decided to get in bed with Mr. Trump.

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That says a lot about that brand of politics. Gone is the conservative agenda to be replaced by something completely different. Abandoning all the rhetoric about abortion and such. Both these guys seem to say that a President Trump is MUCH better than a President Hillary. Putting party above principle seems to be the path chosen by too many in both political parties right now.  I don’t know about you but “anything” in my mind would be better than a President Trump. But then again we did survive eight years of Reagan and Baby Bush so I imagine, or maybe just pray, that we would survive a Trump presidency.

We need a paradigm shift in our search for our primary energy resource but maybe even more importantly we all need one in the way we govern ourselves and how we drive our economy.  How that happens I have no idea.

Keeping with the print copies of news sources I just got the weekly Time Magazine paper copy with the title “CAPITALISM – The Markets are choking our economy”  That will be an interesting read that I’m sure will produce a few posts in the near future.

I know this post is a mishmash of thoughts but that is just how I feel lately…. Maybe that is a symptom of the Trump syndrome,  I don’t know… I guess I will have to consult my spokesman about that…

Rust Belt

Pittsburgh

ISOA BannerRust Belt is a appropriate term used to describe the once thriving mill towns of the Midwest. As Wikipedia says:

The Rust Belt is a term for the region straddling the upper Northeastern United States, the Great Lakes, and the Midwest States, referring to economic decline, population loss, and urban decay due to the shrinking of its once powerful industrial sector…

Pittsburgh is perhaps the epitome of that term.  During my youth and beyond they were simply know as the “Steel Town”. They like many others in the area are gradually becoming a more diverse economy but Pittsburgh in particular still maintains it gritty persona… The picture taken here was from the Monongahela Incline above the city.

 

 

Critical vs Cynical…

I have been doing some thinking lately about my attitude towards life. In some ways I seem to be growing more cynical as the days pass. I often just can’t see a positive future for me or  even the world as a whole.  Is this a result of my “Question Everything” mantra? And then I happen to read the AboutMe page of one of my fellow bloggers over at Critical Dispatches. (click on the source below to go to that blog, but not before you finish reading this one🙂 )  My London England friend gave me some personal insight into this seeming dilemma.

Orwell’s methodical and (mostly) reasoned approach to understanding and interpreting the world forms the core of what I’ve always wanted to achieve in my own writing. That is, taking a searching and critical attitude toward everything with which one is presented, as opposed to a complacency towards the trivial and an acceptance of the absurd. I was once told that being critical of everything will only deny a person the wonders of life. I politely disagree. A great many people, I have noticed, often confuse being critical with being cynical. To be critical is to be driven towards the truth, to the refinement of thought, to a clearer understanding of the world. Cynicism is a shying away from engagement, it is the poison of curiosity and founded on a closed-mindset….

I write because I’m compelled to do so. As I would wager most of the writers using WordPress – or any of the other blogging platforms – do. To communicate, to connect, to inform, to educate, to entertain, to let the world know I lived. That I didn’t follow the crowd, that I thought for myself and was able to share those thoughts with others.

SOURCE: About me – Critical Dispatches

2016-05-13_09-16-09.pngThe definition of cynicism is an interesting one to me.  Just to check it out I went to my loyal dictionary for another definition. I generally don’t think I am distrustful or contemptuous? I may be pessimistic at time but I try to envision a more positive time.

I am certainly driven toward the truth as my blogger friend says.  As my header image says I do viciously fight against the acceptance of the absurd. Am I cynical or critical? I think the later. No, I know it is the latter. But there are times when I do drift toward the cynical.  I need to be aware of this and to always redirect my thoughts and words back to the critical side.

Thanks CriticalDispatches for helping me out with this mini-dilemma of these recent times.

To close this post I certainly agree that I write because I am compelled to do so. It is just an important part of who I am.  I think most of us little recognized bloggers have this condition. 🙂

 

Reflections, Doors, Windows & More

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Pic in a Pic Banner   I discovered something very basic about me recently. I am obsessed with reflection, doors, windows and other such things.  I now have a photo portfolio that exceeds 18,000 pictures and many of them are of this genre.  As above, I love to take my photo editing tools and create something that wasn’t quite there.

The picture above was taken in Ottawa Canada about 5 years ago.

Breaking the Gridlocked Mindset…

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One of my favorite bloggers is at Critical Dispatches. It is a blog about signs, posters and street art strewn around the London England area. I don’t know how the blogger finds so many of them. I think they are a regular part of the London transportation system.  Anyway the one above struck me as very prominent in my life and I expect many others.

I am a dreamer, it is an important part of what I am. But often times my dreams are just an extension of the past. In order to make a dream a real dream we need to shed the past and look for new paradigms for the future. But that is much harder said then done.  Breaking the gridlocked mindset is a very difficult thing to do in today’s world.

Gridlock seems to dominate so much of life, especially those of us who live in the U.S.  We see our politicians gridlocked in to an almost hatred for each other now. There are many Republicans who say they hate what Mr. Trump has done to their party but they hate Hillary even more. The funny thing is that if you ask them why they hate Hillary they struggle to give you an example beyond the “Crooked Hillary” vitriol rhetoric of the times.  I must admit that I wish I had another choice in this presidential campaign but when it comes which of the two now available I don’t have much doubt as to which I will vote for.  I will not let all the hateful unsubstantiated words dominate my decision.

Seeing a future repeats, or even wants to repeat the past in not forward thinking or dreaming in my mind.   We all need to spend some serious time in meditation, or whatever you want to call it, dreaming of better times and then going about doing what it takes to make that dream happen.  I love the Gandhi quote about many people doing small things is how paradigm shifts happen.  It all starts with each of us.  We must be what we want the world to look like. Now that is some simple and deep rhetoric that we need to listen to.

An Eye For An Eye Makes the Bible Blind

2016-05-15_11-08-13.pngHaving dipped into theology for a ten year period I learned that some have been studying the Bible for centuries and have a name for almost every concept that it might contain. The ‘flat Bible’ is a new one for me but the concept is one I most adamantly disagree with.  Putting every word in the Bible as being of equal importance make absolutely no sense to me. Here is a little about that from my friend at Red Letter Christians.

Only a ‘flat Bible’ perspective can justify living in such a blind way. Instead we must recognize that the ‘red letters’ of Jesus—especially in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’—call us to another path. A path our fear-mongering politicians hope we’ll ignore. A path that calls us to embrace radical grace and love and forgiveness. A path that remains much harder to follow than merely swinging for someone’s eye.

SOURCE:  An Eye For An Eye Makes the Bible Blind – Red Letter Christians

I know my Baptist friends for the most part view their Bibles as flat. I’m sure there are many others.  To me the Bible refutes itself in so many instances to make the idea of all the words have equal important simply ridiculous.

It is easy to realize that the  “an eye for an eye” concept on the Old Testament bible is responsible for much, if not almost all, violence in the world today.  The Israelis and the Palestinians are killing each other everyday based on that belief. Religious extremism, at least the ISIS version follows the same logic.

I have studied enough theology to understand that the Bible is a very difficult document to get a high level view of.  Too many latch on to one or two sentences in it and then ignorantly go on to treat the rest of it as if it totally condoned their tunnel vision.

4 Easy Ways to Find your passion..

The Folks over at RoadTrip Nation always get me to thinking. They are primarily focused on helping young people discover their passions in life and then encouraging them to pursue an education to make that passion a paying job. I wished they had been around when I was searching for my passion. It was almost 20 years into my career before I discovered “what I was interested in”.  One of the items on list in the quote below is how I discovered my passion..

2016-04-26_18-51-48.pngThe problem is that people tend to think that the answer to, “What are you interested in?” should have a neat little one-word answer, like “football,” or “coding.” Obviously, those are both stellar interests, but oftentimes, it’s much more complicated than that. Interests can also be encompassed by thoughts like, “I love helping people,” or “I really enjoy telling a good story.” And an interest can be as generic as, “nature,” or as specific as, “tornadoes.” Yeah…bet you never thought “tornadoes” were an interest, did you? Well, they are; just ask meteorology professor, Mike Biggerstaff! Basically, never think that just because you don’t collect anything, play an instrument, or have a traditional “hobby,” you don’t have interests.

  • Ask your friends for help — As weird as it seems, sometimes we get too deep into our own heads to properly evaluate what we like—brains be crazy. So step outside of yourself for a minute and ask your friends for help….
  • Stalk your own browser history — Have you ever fallen down one of those Wikipedia rabbit holes where you look at the clock and realize you haven’t eaten or drank or moved for over two hours because you were so wrapped up in reading about Rasputin?…
  • Get emotional — It’s important to remember that while your interests often arise from feelings of joy, they can also reveal themselves at times when you are especially angry or sad….
  • Keep a journal — This method is more of a slow-simmer kind of deal, but it’ll probably give you the best results….

SOURCE:  Get Interested: Four Easy Ways to Figure Out What You Love

I find it interesting that they use today’s tools for their list. I would never have thought of searching my browser history for a clue.   I know my friends told me I was smart and needed to go to college but I didn’t have a clue as to what to actually study once I got there. But even that simple “smart” observation put me on a college path. I was the first in my family to go to college and financially it was a big struggle but that encouragement helped it to happen.

I got my first personal computer in the mid 1970s. It was a TRS-80 which basically had less power than a $10 calculator today and cost about $600 (that’s about $3500 in today’s dollar).  I don’t know why but I had to have one. I spent a crazy amount of hours learning to program in.  In fact one weekend I got off work and coded from Friday night to Sunday morning without stopping to sleep or eat much of anything! It became glaringly clear that I had finally “found what I was interested in”.

Everyone but especially young people need to do whatever is necessary to find their passions in life. Don’t settle for simply what is in front of you. If you find your passion you will go through the 30 or so job years enjoying what you do instead of just counting the days until you can do something else. Take it from someone who spent too much time on the counting path…

 

I Love Reenactors

Ft William

 

ISOA Banner   I love to visit historic sites that have reenactors that is people who play roles of the historic event or site. Fort William in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada is one of my top ten in that category.  Yes Canada is very much in my search for America….

 

I have been away from RJsCorner for almost a week now. During that time I have been studying and bringing up a Twitter presence (@rj_walters).  All of my posts here at RJsCorner and 2TouchTheSky will be tweeted there. Of course I will also add some off the cuff tweets as well.  :)  I know I am late to the Twitter scene but that seems to be my life lately (a day late and a dollar short).

Part of bringing up my Twitter presence was to assign a header photo. I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to project and came up with the thought that what I do on my blogs is to reflect on the things that life throws at me and how I react to them.  Once that thought was fermented in my brain it automatically brought up the images I had taken in Ottawa Canada five years ago. I was fascinated by all the reflection off the glass buildings on my visit there. The above image is what I chose as my Twitter header. If you want to see the results click http://twitter.com/@rj_walters

Reflections on life is what I do so much of the time.  I don’t limit myself to just the present. I seem to also spend a good part of my reflections on the past and the future, mostly the past it seems. Since I have a lot more past than I do future that only seems logical. I am a dreamer so I dream that some of the reflections of the past will help someone else in their lives. Yeah, I am a dreamer….

Small Town Life

 

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ISOA Banner   You don’t know America if you have never eaten at a small town cafe. This one in Ennis Montana like so many others is proud of its heritage. We had breakfast there, a big place of sausage gravy and biscuits so didn’t have a change to try their strawberry pie… The biscuits were kind of hard but the gravy was very good.

One Of The Problems With Rural Life…

One of the problems with rural life is that the emergency services are not as quick as our urban brothers have. I took this picture around Townsend Montana a few years ago on our way to California. I wander if they saved much of the home? Probably not.. But it does make for a dramatic, and someway beautiful picture..

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The Corn Palace…

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ISOA Banner   Nothing could be more American that the Corn Palace in Mitchell South Dakota. My first time there was on a family vacation in the 1950s. I have been there three other times and except for the date on the front of the building it has not changed one iota over the years.

The Happiness Project…

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It seems that for some time now I have been unable to obtain much of a degree of happiness in my life. I’m sure the current times, particularly the political climate in our country, have something to do with that.  Happiness just seems to be eluding my lately.

So I am now deeply embedding myself in a new project of finding out why I am not able to find the happiness in my life that I desire. I am going to try to keep this project focused on the positive rather than moaning about the negative. One way to do that is to put my thoughts on this topic on this blog.  I have vowed to keep 2TouchTheSky positive and I intend to do just that…   Wish me luck and come back once in a while to see how I am progressing…

The Real Republican Party..

2016-05-05_09-30-12.pngNow that Donald Trump is on the verge of being official face of the Republican party there are many saying that he does not represent the “real” party. I kind of think he does, or at least what is left of the party.  Over the years the GOP has gone about alienating one group after another in order to maintain party “purity”. During that time more and more people have been shedding themselves of the Republican label such that their is not much left.

The Evangelical vote, or maybe more appropriately the anti-abortion vote, has been splintering away for years now.  What is left are mainly those who willing to strip away the core foundations of their faith in order to concentrate on that one sub-agenda.  Even the term Evangelical is an easily attachable tag that doesn’t come with many qualifying conditions. Anyone can call themselves Evangelical and many now do.  The real Christians have quietly migrated into the Independent category of American politics.

Those of us who used to call ourselves Republicans because of our fiscally conservative views have watched the old GOP actually do worse than the Democrats when it comes to deficit spending and reducing the size of government.  We have watched one Republican president after another get us into wars and the resulting vast increase in military spending and want to make up the difference on the backs of the poor in our society. While we may be fiscally conservative we still maintain our firm belief in the necessity of a societal safety net.  So we have quietly migrated into the Independent category of American politics.

Those of us who believe in limited government who used to call ourselves Republicans have seen the GOP make every effort to strip the power of government beyond what is safe in order to maintain some form of civility and governance. We have watched the current GOP majority in congress strip away safeguards that keep the totally greedy among us from gobbling up the wealth of our country.  We have seen them viciously trying to take away affordable healthcare from millions of our citizens in the name of limited government.  We who believe in limited government know that there are many places that can be reigned in to reduce our deficits but the current crop of GOP have an agenda that is not compatible with finding these real savings.  So we have quietly migrated to the Independent category of American politics.

What is left after all these migrations are two fundamentally different groups. One are the people who have been left behind in the 21st century economy due to one reason or another.  They look back and see where opportunity was much easier to grab on to than it is today. They lament that it now takes more effort to join the middle class than they have been able, or maybe willing to give.  They have a mentality that if they are not doing good then they want to push everyone else down to their level. They want to basically destroy America of opportunity because they did not get their expected share.

The second group are those at the other end of the spectrum who seek power primarily at the expense of the rest of us. They don’t like rules that get in the way of accomplishing their personal agendas. For the most part they are self serving narcissists who don’t have any concern for others. They are concentrated total on themselves and their accumulation of wealth.

So here we are today with an extreme narcissist in control of a bitterly divided GOP. Given the past few decades it is hard to imagine it otherwise.

Star Wars..

I certainly enjoyed my recent trip to Disney World, especially the Star Wars elements. Today May 4 being Star Wars day I thought it appropriate to give you a picture of a major exhibit there.

May the fourth be with you….   :) 🙂

Star Wars

Star Wars…

I will readily admit that I am a Star Wars addict. I have DVDs of all the movies and have watched them several times. I just got the latest movie “The Force Awakens” a few weeks ago just after returning from my bucket list trip to Disney World. I watched it last week and was not disappointed. It is nice to see that a new generation of actors is now replacing the original crew. I hope the movies continue to come.

I just got the picture below from the Discovery Channel wanting me to buy some Star Wars stuff.  I didn’t realize that Star Wars had its own day but how appropriate that it be May the fourth.

May the fourth be with you all, especially the light side….🙂

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I Voted…

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I just finished voting. They have reduced the polling places in my small town now so it took 40 minutes to cast my ballot instead of the usual 10 minutes or so.  I hate to think of the wait for those who do it  on the to or from work. If it is like this for the general elections in the Fall it will probably be hours…

But that is a red State thing I guess; suppress the vote where possible…

The Invasion of….

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Rose Breasted Grosebeaks have taken over the feeder today. They travel through to I don’t know where about this time of year. I always enjoy seeing them for a few weeks.

Just Like The Talk Radio Hosts…

The first sentence of the quote below rung my bell.  Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh, and people like him, are one and the same. Almost everything that comes out of their mouths is insulting to at least one group or another. I have never understood how Mr. Limbaugh can make millions of bucks a year doing what he does?  By the same token I can never understand how so may can vote for Trump to be the leader of the free world. It just astounds me.

2016-05-03_07-55-25.pngBut many people find Trump’s jerkiness intoxicating, for the same reason they feel the same way about certain talk radio hosts. Trump can be a jerk on your behalf, saying the things you think but are reluctant to say out loud, because the norms of politeness in a civilized society prevent it. It’s fitting that Trump comes to politics from reality TV, a genre which allows us to watch “real” people act like monsters to one another

But imagine if someone you actually knew acted like the Donald Trump we see on television. Let’s say you and your spouse invited someone over for dinner, and after the meal he said, “Well that food was crap, and not only that, your outfits are ugly, your taste in decor is abominable, and your kids strike me as uncommonly stupid.” You probably wouldn’t say, “Wow, how refreshingly honest — he really tells it like it is!” You’d say that guy was a jerk, and never invite him over again.

Trump’s success so far is proof that we have more than our share of jerks here in America, and they’re coming out for him in force. But do jerks make up more than half of the electorate? It’s hard to imagine.

SOURCE: How Donald Trump locked up the jerk vote

The final parts of the quote are interesting. Would those who are voting for Trump, or religiously listening Limbaugh tolerate that behavior in their homes? A very interesting question… I kind of think they would never put up with that before booting the guy out of their house.

I don’t know when insults became so acceptable and are even celebrated as not being “Politically Correct”?  I am old enough to remember Archie Bunker and the stupid things he would say. Back then we deemed it just entertainment that we ourselves would never personally tolerate. Now it seems to be the accepted norm for far too many of us. The open forums on the Internet seem to bear that truth out. Especially those who can do so anomalously.

I have to admit that I have never watched one “reality TV” show  in its entirety.  I can only seem to make it through a few minutes without compulsively changing the channel.  It just seems anything but reality to me. I know people are frustrated by much of what is happening in today’s world but turning the U.S. into a reality show is not the answer, at least to those of us who  “think” once in a while.

Civility and manners seem to be a non-existent thing in our society today, at least on the political level.  I wonder how it is in the home? As the quote above says are half the electorate jerks now who will vote for the epitome of Jerks. I can only pray that is not the case….

From Reagan to Obama…Big Promises….

2016-05-02_09-32-12.pngI’m a U.S. history guy. I have read quite a bit about the Robber Barons of 100 years or so ago. The similarities to today are very revealing.  It took a Republican named Roosevelt to start the process of giving hope back to the other 99% of society.  I kind of think that is what is happening now.  Since there is no new “Roosevelt” around to do the job a populist movement is doing it via a faceless revolution.  Trump is simply a symptom not a cure of this re-invented movement.

The PBS segment by John Komlos below does a good job of reflection the current moods.  If you are interested in this topic I would suggest you read the entire source.

We have had a long string of very big promises from Reagan to Obama. Tax cuts, trickle-down economics, deregulation, globalization and NAFTA and bailouts all conferred tremendous financial benefits on only one group: the ultrarich. They led to the “hollowing out” of the middle class. So wealth and its concomitant, political power, became as concentrated as it was during the era of the Robber Barons at the turn of the 20th century.

So why Trump? Trump promises to bring back jobs that were lost to China and Mexico. He promises to make America — the middle class — great. He uses minorities as scapegoats — a standard strategy for demagogues to attract the support of those who have lost status and are anxious about the future. He vilifies women, perhaps in an attempt to appeal to those men who have lost out to women in the workplace….

Bigotry, prejudice, sexism, racism — all this matters not. Important to the disaffected Trumpists is that America and their place along with it will be resurrected to its former glory when incomes were decent, they were not swimming in debt, and women and minorities knew their place in society.

The establishment was good at making big promises, but in the end, they left few crumbs on the table for the middle class. But still the establishment is surprised by the middle class’ anger, by Trumps appeal. This is a generalizable rule: elites are endangered by excessive greed. And being out of touch to the last minute is not uncommon at all.

via Column: How Reaganomics, deregulation and bailouts led to the rise of Trump | PBS NewsHour

I kind of think this quote above sums up the underlying feelings around the phenomena that is currently taking place. Given the way our politics is funded the politicians are paying more attention to those who fund their ambition.

The quote about demagogues reminds me of the 1930s Germany.  As a result of World War I Germany was under the yoke of restraint. Their economy just refused to expand so that the average citizen could make a meaningful wage. Then along came Hitler who promised to reverse the current stagnant order of things. People feverishly migrated to his message even if it was impossible to obtain.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not comparing Trump to Hitler but the underlying theme is the same.  Once people have known prosperity it is hard to lose it for any reason. I will be voting tomorrow in the Indiana primary. We are one of those States that can declare which party we want to vote in at the poll.  I will leave the GOP decision to others this time around  and will be voting for Bernie, but due to the extremely conservative electorate here I image Mr. Trump will again rule the day on his way to the nomination.

Rendezvous…

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One of my favorite type day trips are to rendezvous around the Midwest. This one was in Bridgeton Indiana about a week ago. Some day I just may join them in reliving days of our country’s past

About Blood… And The Flat Bible

There are a lot of things in life that have origins based on previous ignorance. The topic of the post for today will discuss one of them which is the concept of the “flat Bible” and particularly when it comes to blood. The “Flat Bible” is a term I just recently came across but its meaning is decades old.  It is the belief that nothing in the Bible has any more significance than anything else. That concept seems almost and antithesis of what I think being a Christian means!  How can any Christian say that the dietary commands of the Jewish Bible have the save weight as the words of Jesus!  But sadly there is a considerable portion of today’s Christian organizations who believe just that.

When we come to the decision that everything in the Bible is just as important as anything else it opens the door to a total menagerie of practices. I want to focus the remainder of this post to the convoluted concepts around blood.  Here is a little about that.

2016-05-01_08-21-47.pngOn the basis of various biblical texts, including Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:10, and Acts 15:29, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe:

Blood represents life and is sacred to God.  After it has been removed from a creature, the only use of blood that God has authorized is for the atonement of sins….

A baptized (Jehovah’s) Witness who unrepentantly accepts a blood transfusion is deemed to have disassociated himself from the religion by abandoning its doctrines and is subsequently subject to organized shunning by other members….

Dissident Witnesses say the Society’s use of Leviticus 17:12 to support its opposition to blood transfusions  conflicts with its own teachings that Christians are not under the Mosaic law ….  He has described as “absurd literalism” the Witnesses’ use of a scriptural prohibition on eating blood to prohibit the medical transfusion of human blood.

SOURCE:  Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood transfusions – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blood is viewed as a symbol of life throughout the Bible. Of course we in the 21st century know that blood is used to send nutrients to body and remove waste. It is an important part of our physiology but it is no more life than a liver, or a lung. But all the first century citizen knew was it you loose too much blood you die. That, and some archaic words in ancient Jewish text said you are not supposed to eat anything with blood in it.

Those who follow the flat Bible theology can take up the words they find anywhere in the Bible and create a new religion around them. I must admit that the Jewish bible with its thousands of rules and regulations about our diet and almost everything else is of no interest to me.  I could easily throw out that the old text and not miss any of it.

Simply speaking the flat Bible theory falls very flat to me. It does much more damage than anything it could accomplish…. especially when it causes death in an otherwise very preventable situation.

Disney World — Flowers

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One of the things that impressed me the most about my recent trip to Disney World were the flower beds. They were huge and beautiful. These were found below the Monorail system in Epcot.

My Small Town And Crime…

2016-04-22_10-04-25.pngI am going into my seventeenth year living in my small town in southwestern Indiana.  It is a town of about 2,000 people and a county of 20,000.  It is in the bottom 20% of the State in that regard. I certainly enjoy small town life.  I have been here long enough that most people at least know that I am the  old”deaf” guy. We aren’t quite “Mayberry” as portrayed to the right but we are probably about as white and as few in number.🙂

Our small daily newspaper, yeah we still have one, doesn’t have much of a staff so they for the most part just print what is given to them. It seems the majority of our daily newspaper is about high school sports and who recently died.  Investigative reporting is non-existent. There are occasional letters to the editor that discusses our local government but for the most part no one in government and especially law enforcement are seriously questioned.  That is an underlying theme for this post.

In the sixteen years I have lived here crime it seems has been pretty static, at least from what I can glean from the newspaper and talking to other townspeople. There was recently a murder of a small child that made State wide news but murder and robbery is thankfully a very rare occurrences in my small town. A couple of times a year I see where the sheriff raids another meth lab but for the most part my small town seems almost immune from the big city problems of Indianapolis which brings me to the main topic of this post.

The budgets related to criminal activities  in our county has taken a sharp increase in the last few years and I just can’t fathom why. For years we got by with one judge handling the legal matters for our county. Most, if not all, the county employees were housed in the 100 year old county courthouse.  And then things suddenly changed. About four years ago when our long-time circuit judge retired it was decided that one judge could not handle the volume anymore. We needed two judges now.

We also needed a greatly expanded support team including more deputies for the three enforcement agencies in our small county. So many more employees where added that they had to seek additional space beyond the court house. Of course along with all this demanded remodeling much of the court house space to accommodate the expanded bureaucracy.  More tax dollars…

Tax dollars dedicated to criminal activities have taken a giant leap here but I just don’t see the cause of it?  And now a plan is underway to close down three of the four courthouse entrance doors and to put some more newly hired  guards  with metal detectors and weapons at the final one.  Of course that means more expense.

Is all of this being caused by real threats or just  increased fear?  Since my county is very red when it comes to its politics I kind of think the later. Fear is very dominant on that side of the aisle.   But I won’t be voicing much opposition to these changes as I don’t want to be deemed the “troublemaker” in my small town.  That can almost be the kiss of social death in a small town….

10 Rules for Living a 21st Century Life

2016-04-18_10-30-19.pngThis post has been sitting in my “draft” pile for as long as any there. I don’t pretend to be some guru siting on a mountain with the meaning of life. I’m just a guy who has managed to survive seventy years on this earth and not get into too much trouble. But living those seventy years I have made a lot of mistakes and had a few successes.

The last post was about rules and how they can be stifling in life and now here I am giving you my “rules for life”. Kind of ironic isn’t it? I get very philosophical at times. “What have I done right in life?” “What caused me to miss great opportunities?” These are questions I have been thinking about the past few years.  The answers to those questions have resulted in my 10 Rules for Living in the 21st Century. They are not in any particular order so don’t go there… 🙂

 

  1. Don’t get tied down to one locale — Jobs are just not as permanent as they used to be nor are they equally spread across the country. Accept the fact that you may have to relocate to another area for a job that matches your compassion.
  2. Continue Learning — Things are changing faster now than ever before and that pace will only increase as time goes by. Most likely what you learned just five years ago no longer has any relevance. Never stop learning either at a professional level or a personal one.
  3. Embrace Change — Let’s face it change happens whether you like it or not. Those who resist change are bound to miss out on too many of life’s opportunities.
  4. Question Established Beliefs — Never accept the line “That’s just the way we do it.” Everything can be improved. Don’t get stuck in one frame of mind. Be open to possibilities..
  5. Live Beyond Yourself — a multicultural country like the U.S.  demands that we get along with each other. It has been found that one of the strongest ties is community. We are all part of a greater presence. We are all our brother’s keeper. Ayn Rand just got it wrong. Empathy is not the scourge of mankind, it is the very foundation.
  6. Be willing to compromise — Its not a dirty word.
  7. Think for yourself — Don’t buy into hatred or prejudices that may be all around you. Too many of us take the lazy way in life. We tie into a belief system without really considering other possibilities.
  8. Recognize the world community — Clans are very strong in the world today and have been for thousands of years. Sunnis have a hatred for Shiite Muslims. Protestants distrust Catholics. Recognize that our world is fragile and needs all of us thinking globally. Tribal rivalries have a shrinking place in the 21st century.
  9. Be willing to admit you are wrong — This is a tough one. No one wants to admit that they might have been wrong about something. Too many see that admission as a sign of weakness. In reality it is a sign of strength that we are able to admit that we have grown beyond past beliefs.
  10. Love One Another — We are all in the same boat whether we like it or not.
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